New York Giants near rock bottom in ESPN power rankings

We’re not far into the 2020 season, but the New York Giants already have comparisons to previous seasons. That’s because the team has started 0-3, and after their most recent loss, Dave Gettleman is once again on the hot seat. As for takes on the team from outside the Giants fanbase, the outlook isn’t positive either.

ESPN released their power rankings following the conclusion of week 3, and both New York City teams occupy the bottom spots. According to these rankings, the Giants aren’t quite as bad as the Jets. But their position is still one of the worst in the league regardless. What did ESPN have to say about the team specifically?

New York Giants offense is “a mess”

The Giants fell from their previous position of 29th and the drop in ranking came with a scathing review of the team’s situation. After the team’s offensive performance against San Francisco, the offense was mentioned in specific as a weak point by Jordan Raanan.

Week 3 ranking: 29

What we got wrong: Saquon Barkley would approach 2,500 yards from scrimmage.

Give me a little break? Barkley’s knee gave out while he was being tackled in Week 2. Instead of getting the ball a ton and playing in an offense that was built around him, he’s now out for the season. The Giants are without their best player and their offense is a mess, which makes my prediction that this would finally be tight end Evan Engram’s big year another bad miss.

The only team placed below the Giants on this list is the Jets. And it’s not hard to see why the Jets are ranked worse. They’re also 0-3, and just about nobody believes head coach Adam Gase will make it out of the season with his job. But while Gase is on the hot seat for the Jets, GM Dave Gettleman may be on the hot seat for the Giants.

After all, this was supposed to be Gettleman’s chance to turn it around after a bad start. If the Giants simply repeat the same old performance from the last couple of seasons, the ownership may finally tire of the team’s architect.

For now, though, the Giants still have a chance to climb out of the basement. But as the gap between them and better teams grows in the standings, that window is closing rapidly.

New York Yankees Postseason Recap: Yankees with spectacular win over the Indians in game one of the Wild Card

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

Last night the New York Yankees faced off against the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the Wild Card series between the two teams.  Both teams had inconsistent seasons but made it to the expanded MLB postseason. Both teams put their best pitchers on the mound, the Cy Young-winning Shane Bieber for the Cleveland Indians and the postseason veteran New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.  The game made for must-watch tv, pitting the best two pitchers in baseball against each other.

The New York Yankees started off the game with the Cy Young winner Shane Bieber on the mound for the Cleveland Indians, by AL Batting Champ DJ LeMahieu getting on base. Yankee’s star slugger Aaron Judge followed up with a huge home run smash that put the Yankees up 2-0 in the very first inning of the Wild Card matchup at Cleveland’s Progressive Stadium in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  The untested, in the postseason, Bieber seemed shocked.  He gave up just three runs in the first inning of all his 2020 starts. At the bottom of the frame, the Yankee’s Gerrit Cole struck out two Indians in the scoreless half-inning.

In the second inning, both teams were scoreless while Gerrit Cole struck out another two Indians. Gerrit Cole and his battery mate, catcher Kyle Higashioka, catching in this game, teamed up for an ERA in Cole last four games of the regular season for four wins with a 1.00 ERA.  Highashioka has evolved into Cole’s designated catcher during the regular season.

At the top of the third, with Bieber already with 52 pitches, Aaron Hicks singled, and Luke Voit with two outs, doubled off Bieber, as Hicks motored around from first for another Yankee run, 3-0 Yankees. At the bottom of the frame, Indians scored their first run of the game when Jose Ramirez doubled, driving in a run. Yankees 3-1. The New York Yankee’s Cole picked up his sixth strikeout of the game.

After listening to nearly no sound in most MLB parks this season, the constant loud fake crowd noise was a bit unnerving in the ESPN broadcast.  If it slacked off during off times and increased during significant plays, it might have been acceptable, but it was just constant noise and annoying.

At the top of the fourth inning, with one on, Brett Gardner hit a long double to the left-field wall, and Glayber Torres scored from first base. Yankees 4-1,  Higashioka singled, and Brett Gardner scored for the Yankees 5-1 lead in the game. The Yankees continued to swing aggressively off Bieber but failed to bring two on base, to the home plate. Josh Naylor circled the bases in the bottom of the frame, hitting a long home run to center off Cole drawing a run closer to the Yankees 5-2 lead.  But by the end of the inning, Cole racked up his eighth strikeout with just 59 balls pitched.

At the top of the fifth inning, Luke Voit had his second well-hit ball resulting in an out to far center. Stanton struck out, and Gio Urshela singled. Gleyber Torres homered to left, for a two-run homer for the Yankees 7-2 lead. The homer knocked out the heavy-handed curve throwing, Cy Young Award-winning Shane Bieber out of the game with 106 pitches thrown. Bieber ended his night with 4.2 innings pitched with a career-high seven earned runs, walking two, while striking out seven in the loss for the Indians.

At the bottom of the fifth, Cole recorded his 9th strikeout of the game with just 63 pitches thrown. At the seventh inning Luke Voit got on base, Torres singled and it was 8-2 Yankees. Gardner homered scoring two. The inning ended with the Yankees scoring an additional four runs make it 11-2 and out of the reach of the Cleveland Indians. In the top of the ninth inning, Giancarlo added his home run to take the Yankees to a 12 to 3 win over the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the 2020 Wild Card game.  Cole Got the win and Bieber took the loss for the Indians.

Gerrit Cole ended his time of the mound striking out a record postseason 13 strikeouts in a Wild Card game. He pitched seven innings of dominance. He allowed just six hits, while walking only two Indians. Luis Cessa in relief pitched a perfect eighth inning and gave up a final run to the Indians for the Indians final score loss of 12-3, to the New York Yankees. The unlikely star of the game was Gleyber Torres who went 4-4 with a walk and three runs batted in.

Tomorrow the New York Yankees with a one to two lead in the series, will again face the Indians, and their pitcher Carlos Carrasco facing the New York Yankee’s Masahiro Tanaka. In tonight’s game, the New York Yankees made a statement.  We are here, we deserve to be here, and we are going forward from here to win our 28th World Championship.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news in Game 1 domination over Cleveland

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees faced off against the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the AL Wild Card on Tuesday evening. In what was supposed to be a pitching dual-ended up being a dominant victory for the Yankees, who posted 12 runs to the Indians three.

Indians starter Shane Bieber entered the postseason as one of the more dominant arms in the MLB this year. He finished the regular season with a 1.63 ERA and only allowed 14 runs over 77 innings. He hadn’t given up three runs or more in any start this season, but surrendered seven earned runs to the Yankees, watching his postseason ERA bubble to 13.50.

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

There was plenty of good news for the Yankees in their victory in game one. Offensively, they produced 15 hits and 12 runs, with multiple batters tallying two or more hits on the evening. The notable contributors were Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, who combined for five RBIs and five hits. I would be remiss not to mention Brett Gardner, who logged three RBIs and a home run in the seventh inning, driving in Torres.

Overall, this outing for the Bronx Bombers was excellent and proved that they belong in playoff contention. As for their ace, Gerrit Cole, he lasted seven innings, allowing just six hits and two earned runs. He struck out 13 batteries, which was a Yankee postseason record. His performance justified his $324 million deal he signed this past off-season, and will undoubtedly be a focal point for them moving forward.

Not only did the Yankees torture Bieber all evening, but they also rallied against their bullpen, putting up five runs in the later innings. The scoresheet is littered with Yankee hits and runs batted in, so it seems manager Aaron Boone sparked the potential his team holds. With all of their primary batters healthy and ready to go, this Yankee team on a hot streak is not one you want to face off against.

Some other interesting stats, Gleyber Torres is the first Yankees shortstop with at least four hits and three RBIs in the postseason game. That is a big statement considering the legacy that is Derek Jeter. In addition, the last time a pitcher had 13 strikeouts and zero walks in a postseason game was Tom Seaver back in 1973. What a performance by Cole.

BAD NEWS:

The negatives don’t consist of anything from the victory over Cleveland, they rely entirely on the momentum they have acquired. Completely dominating Cleveland 12-3 is fantastic, but if they can’t keep the positive momentum going, it won’t mean much. With Masahiro Tanaka on the mound in game two, the Yankees have a fantastic opportunity to take a significant lead early on. However, the offense must remain consistent.

Rob Manfred wants New York Mets’ takeover to move “as quickly as possible”

New York Mets

The New York Mets are in the process of an ownership change that will see the Wilpon family give way to Steve Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire with a lifelong dream of owning the team at some point in his life.

There is already an agreement between the current owners and Cohen, but to make things official, MLB owners would need to approve the sale.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said during the Big Time Baseball podcast with Jon Heyman and Tony Gwynn Jr. that he expects the process to be fast and swift, even using the words “as quickly as possible.”

“With respect to the (ownership) change, all I’m gonna say on that one is we’re gonna try to process this as quickly as possible,” Manfred said. “It’s up to the owners, ultimately, as to whether Mr. Cohen will be approved.

“I think given the time of year, we would like to move this along as quickly as possible so that the Mets have certainty as they go into the offseason (and it’s) absolutely clear who’s making the decisions about how the roster is gonna be put together, what the budget is, and what the 2021 version of the New York Mets is going to look like.”

Will the new Mets’ owner be approved?

Word around the baseball industry is that the New York Mets’ new owner would be approved during the annual Winter Meetings, scheduled for November 2020, but it would appear that Manfred wants it to be official even sooner.

When Cohen gets the green light to take over the Mets, he already announced that he will appoint old friend Sandy Alderson, who was the general manager between 2010 and 2018, as the team president.

SNY’s Andy Martino recently reported that while there is not a sure thing that Cohen gets approved by the owners, the presence of Alderson in his team increases those odds, as it “should create the needed support to win the vote.”

Manfred also praised current Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

“Fred Wilpon has been a great owner of the Mets for a substantial period of time,” Manfred said. “He’s really well-respected among the other owners. Whatever the outcome, the result, nobody wanted to win more than Fred Wilpon. He desperately wanted to deliver a winner on a consistent basis to Mets fans.”

Report: The New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist will part ways

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

As reported Tuesday night by multiple sources, the New York Rangers will buy out the contract of their longtime legendary goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Since January, when Igor Shesterkin was promoted from Hartford, there was much speculation that the Rangers would not keep three goaltenders for long. In all, Lundqvist appeared in a career-low 30 games this season as the Rangers gave more time to Alexandar Georgiev and Shesterkin.

The long-expected move will end Lundqvist’s 15-year tenure with the team.

More details will follow when the Rangers confirm the buyout.

New York Giants: Offensive line motivated to improve against Rams in Week Three

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants have been arguably the weakest unit on the team through its disappointing 0-3 start. After investing a fair amount of assets into the offensive line this offseason and acquiring one of the best positional coaches in the sport to guide them, the Giants’ offensive line appears to have somehow gotten worse in 2020.

Quarterback Daniel Jones has been under pressure on 41.5% of his dropbacks in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus. This is the third-highest rate in the NFL. PFF Also states that the Giants’ offensive line has recorded a 46.3 pass-block grade through three weeks, ranking dead last in the league.

The members of the Giants’ front line are not oblivious to their poor performances. According to starting center Nick Gates, the Giants’ offensive line is “pissed off.”

Nick Gates Quotes

The New York Giants’ offensive line has gone up against some of the best defensive lines in the NFL to start the season. The Steelers and Bears were fully healthy and had All-Pro pass-rushers line up against the Giants’ weak offensive line. The 49ers’ defense was injured, but well-coached with a few impact players that gave the Giants plenty of trouble.

Entering Week Four, the Giants are set to face off against another great defense featuring one of the game’s greatest players: Aaron Donald. When asked about this matchup, Nick Gates called the matchup “exciting,” and saying Donald “will be the best player” Gates has “ever gone up against.”

Nick Gates admits that these first three weeks have been “frustrating” and the team is “pissed off.” But he also recognizes that the team has to “focus on the Rams” and move on “to the next game.” This falls in line with Joe Judge’s quotes.

Marc Colombo Quotes

Offensive line coach Marc Colombo also spoke with the media as his unit continues to struggle. Colombo is aware that his line is frustrated, saying, “I love that they’re pissed off. That’s the type of group we want.”

As frustrated as Colombo and his unit are, they are also aware that they have been dealt a pretty bad hand in 2020. With the craziness of the COVID offseason, Colombo reminds the media that the Giants’ offensive line is “thousands and thousands of reps behind.” Continuity has also been a problem for the Giants. But Colombo is not here to make excuses. Instead, he is here to find solutions:

“We’ve gotta do better in the run, period. That’s where we’re falling short right now. It’s going to alleviate a lot of stuff in the passing game. That’s something we have to do.” – Marc Colombo on his offensive line’s play through three weeks of the 2020 NFL season

Clearly, the Giants’ offensive line and coaches are frustrated. They need to play and coach better and they are all aware of that fact. If New York wants to turn around its season, the offensive line will need to improve quickly and drastically.

New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau sees a leader in Julius Randle

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

Julius Randle is ready to put behind his struggles during his first season with the New York Knicks.  And getting coach Tom Thibodeau’s stamp of approval is certainly a great confidence builder for the much-maligned forward.

Randle has impressed Thibodeau with his work ethic and how he is approaching this offseason.

Thibodeau revealed that Randle was the earliest Knick to show up.  He’s spent time with the new coaching staff even before the start of the organized team activity approved by the league for the “Delete Eight”.

He’s a pro’s pro. He’s in great shape. He’s willing to work and do anything that you ask.  I think having that type of leadership is important for our team,” Thibodeau said during his Zoom call with media on Tuesday.

Randle took a lot of heat from the New York fanbase after he regressed this season following a career year that earned him a three-year, $63-million deal with the Knicks.

The six-year veteran still did post near double-double averages with 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds but only shot 28 percent from deep.  He also posted a career-worst 3 turnovers per game.  But it wasn’t entirely his fault as he was put in an extremely difficult situation with an ill-fitted roster.

With the team moving to a new direction under Thibodeau, it appears that Randle will play a major role if he’s not moved in the offseason

“We need consistency from our entire team, and we also need for everyone to continue to improve and I think he’s shown that.  He demonstrated that to me in the past three to four weeks,” Thibodeau said. 

Aside from enjoying Thibodeau’s trust, Randle now also has Kenny Payne in his corner.  Payne, the “big man’s whisperer” and the right-hand man of Cal Calipari, has been a steady influence and has played a major role in Kentucky being able to consistently produce lottery picks and NBA stars.

One of those lottery picks was Randle who was selected as the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Now on his third team, the veteran forward hopes he’s finally found a home.

David Wright believes Steve Cohen will turn the Mets into ‘sustained winners’

A new era is about to being for the New York Mets. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund billionaire, is about to become MLB’s wealthiest owner when he takes over the team. All it is left is owners approving the transaction, which is expected to come relatively soon.

And New York Mets’ legend David Wright, one of the best players ever to play for the club, is excited for what’s to come for the franchise. While speaking on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts this week, Wright told his impressions after meeting Cohen in Miami a couple of years ago.

“Just the passion that he has for the Mets, the knowledge that he has for the game. … I think he’s going to be able to build a sustained winner, hopefully for years to come,” Wright said, according to SNY.

Cohen is a lifelong Mets fan who has long wanted to own the team. After a failed attempt to purchase the franchise from the Wilpons at the start of the year, he secured exclusive negotiating rights and beat out several other competitors, including former Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez.

A Mets fan running the show

Wright referred to himself “as big of a Mets fan as anybody,” and, like every other Mets fan, wants the team to succeed.

“I watch the games now, I follow the team, I talk to some of the guys on a weekly basis in the clubhouse. … I certainly want to see the team have sustained success, and not just kind of win here and there,” said Wright. “I really would like to see the organization become a perennial winner and not just setting the sights on an NL East crown every year, but you know, winning the National League, getting the chance to play in the World Series on a consistent basis. That’s something that I’m certainly rooting for.”

Wright expressed confidence that Cohen, thinking about the Mets’ best interests, will know who to hire to help him turn the franchise around. “For what [Cohen] doesn’t know, he will put people that do know in the right positions,” he said, but he will not be among those, at least not on an everyday basis.

“I don’t think I could do kind of a daily thing or a full-time thing, but I’m certainly willing to give it what I can at this point,” Wright said.

Yankees’ Luke Voit calls BS on struggles playing away

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees failed to secure a top-four seed in the American League, and as a result, they will play the Wild Card series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, away from their fortress: Yankee Stadium.

Why do we say fortress? Because the Bombers finished the season 33-27, but 22 of those victories (roughly 67 percent, or two thirds) came at Yankee Stadium. At home, they had a 22-9 mark. The club performed admirably in familiar surroundings.

When playing on the road, the team had a mediocre 11-18 register, which is especially worrisome considering that they won’t play any more games at Yankee Stadium for the remainder of the postseason as MLB adopted a different schedule and format for the 2020 season.

The Yankees can succeed anywhere according to Voit

The numbers are evident, yet Bombers’ first baseman Luke Voit doesn’t think that people should be worried about where the team plays. Certainly, the squad is talented enough to go all the way, but consistency has been an issue this year.

“Everybody saying we only play good at Yankee Stadium, that’s a lot of BS,” Voit said to MLB.com’s Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch.

Other interesting home/away batting splits: the Yankees hit .273 with 67 home runs at home, but those numbers collapsed all the way to .220 and 27 while playing away from the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium.

Voit has been among the most direct and vocal players in the Yankees’ clubhouse. When the team was slumping (a 5-15 skid that put their playoffs dreams in jeopardy at some point in September) he acknowledged that they were not performing well.

For the season as a whole, the now-slim first baseman slashed .277/.338/.610 with a league-leading 22 home runs in 56 games. He had a .393 wOBA, a 153 wRC+ and accumulated 1.8 fWAR. He is currently being talked about as an MVP candidate.

New York Islanders: Possible 3-Way Trade for Patrik Laine

New York Islanders, Patrik Laine

The New York Islanders have the possibility to make one of their biggest acquisitions ever. But, this move will come with a price, a price that’s very steep. This possible trade has a ton of speculation behind it. A reliable source has been vocal about the proposal. This trade involves the Montreal Canadiens, the Winnipeg Jets, and of course, the New York Islanders.

The Trade for the New York Islanders:

The New York Islanders relinquish Oliver Wahlstrom, Devon Toews, a 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, and Kieffer Bellows. The Islanders only receive Patrik Laine. Wahlstrom, Toews, and the 2nd round pick go to Winnipeg. The Canadiens give up Max Domi to the Jets, while the Isles send Bellows and a 1st rounder to them.

Analysis

Why in god’s green earth would the Islanders ever accept this trade. First of all, Montreal doesn’t need to be involved in the trade at all. Like why would the Islanders want to trade Kieffer Bellows, one of their best prospects by the way, to the Canadiens, and get nothing in return? The Canadiens would have to send Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi back the other way. No, I am not overexaggerating that trade, this is the only way the Isles can win that 3-way trade.

Revamped Trade

Here is my deal for the new 3-way Patrik Laine trade. First, cut off Montreal. The Isles don’t need Montreal to complete the trade. So, it would be Devon Toews, Oliver Wahlstrom, and a 2nd for Patrick Laine. This deal makes a lot more sense for everyone. Max Domi can find another trade to hop into, the Isles certainly can’t lose both their top forward prospects. And as an extra, trade Ladd and Ho-Sang to Ottawa for a 7th round pick.